Monday, February 9, 2015

Press Release - Dismissal of Temporary Restraining Order


Date:              February 9, 2015

Release Date:  Immediate Release

Dismissal of Temporary Restraining Order

After careful consideration, Ms. Blazer has decided she wishes to seek dismissal of the temporary restraining order against Mr. Dennis Hughes.  The superintendent supports her in that decision.  With the Government Accountability Board’s (GAB) issuance of a decision affirming that Clerk Karl Dommershausen and Assistant Clerk Deb Blazer correctly determined the insufficiency of the nomination papers filed by two candidates, it is reasonable to assume that Mr. Hughes will no longer deem it necessary to harass Ms. Blazer.

The temporary restraining order (TRO) against Dennis Hughes was the result of Mr. Hughes’ aggressive and inappropriate demands that Ms. Blazer sign an affidavit to which he incorrectly insisted he was entitled, and of his repeated confrontational behavior following his initial demands.  Other District personnel observed and were subjected to additional aggressive and inappropriate behavior by Mr. Hughes.  Such behavior included;

a.       On January 12, 2015 Dennis Hughes spent all day in the lobby of the Education Services Center, waiting for responses to his challenges of nomination papers.  He was there the next day when Ms. Blazer arrived.
b.      When School District attorneys arrived at the ESC on January 13, 2015 to meet with Board Clerk Dommershausen and Assistant Board Clerk Blazer to review the standards for certification of nomination papers, Mr. Hughes aggressively and incorrectly insisted that he was entitled to attend that meeting, and attempted to follow the attorneys into the meeting.
c.         That evening, after the clerks made their decision, a decision that resulted in the same relief Mr. Hughes had sought, Mr. Hughes nonetheless continued to confront Ms. Blazer during a break in the School Board meeting. He apparently did so because he thought Ms. Blazer had not provided sufficient reasons to support the decision that had already been made.
d.         After Mr. Hughes was asked to leave the ESC, he continued to rudely and aggressively confront District personnel and Janesville Police officers.  He made videos of himself while engaged in such behavior, and posted the videos on You Tube.
e.       After being asked to leave the ESC, on January 16, Mr. Hughes waited outside for Ms. Blazer and followed her to her car, demanding that she affirm his allegations.

It is the Superintendent’s duty to protect all SDJ employees.  While the restraining order sought on behalf of Ms. Blazer related to one employee, disruptions to the workplace were experienced by many employees.  These disruptions included name-calling of employees that were not AFSCME members, repeated accusations directed toward staff, and continued badgering of employees coming into and leaving the ESC.  Under these circumstances, the superintendent asked the District’s attorneys to assist Ms. Blazer in seeking the restraining order.
The School District of Janesville continues to be concerned about Mr. Hughes’ pattern of aggressive conduct.  When Mr. Hughes did not receive precisely what he wanted at the time he wanted it and in the way he wanted it, his reaction was to angrily intimidate and insult the integrity of anyone whom he perceived to be opposing him

District employees will not hesitate to seek the assistance of police again if Mr. Hughes engages in this type of behavior in the future.  The District will seek such assistance as necessary in relation to any person disrupting our workplace.

In order that the public may fully understand the context of the events surrounding Mr. Hughes’ conduct, copies of the following documents are released with this document:

1-         The memorandum of the School District Attorney directed to the School Board and dated January 26, 2015, addressing issues of election laws and legal representation. <Click Here>

2-         The Response filed by District Clerk Karl Dommershausen and Assistant Clerk Debra Blazer with the GAB, describing the facts leading up to the rejection of nomination papers of two candidates. <Click Here>

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